JERUSALEM, Israel -- The brief respite from Palestinian rocket fire ended early Friday morning. Air raid sirens blared as people scurried to bomb shelters or huddled in stairwells waiting for the inevitable explosion.
The attacks stopped midday only to begin again briefly a few hours later.
Sunset brought Shabbat, a day cherished by religious and secular alike -- and perhaps even more in time of war.
Every Shabbat, Jews read from the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) and the prophets. The cycle begins on Rosh Hashana (literally, the head of the year). Ironically this year, the first Shabbat in August on the Gregorian calendar coincided with the Book of Deuteronomy -- a book that utterly affirms Israel's connection to God and to the Land.
One can't help but wonder how this week's portions, Deut. 3:23-7:11, and Is. 40:1-26, encouraged people's hearts in these perilous days.
"For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?" (Deut. 4:7-8)
Despite widespread condemnation of Israel by many nations, it is a just war against people purposed to annihilate the Jewish state and its people. But according to the prophet Isaiah, God isn't stirred by the growing anti-Israel sentiment in the nations.
"Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness." (Is. 40:15-17)
It seems we're coming ever closer to the time when the whole world will turn against the Jewish nation-state. In this latest conflict with Hamas, Israel has used every means at its disposal to get the facts out to an increasingly hostile world.
Daily posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites by the Israel Defense Forces -- often with accompanying videos of rocket launches from densely populated areas, testimonies by soldiers and their families of the reality on the ground, coupled with reliable information exposing the terror group's agenda, seem to make little difference to those intent on demonizing Israel -- and the Jewish people for that matter.
Despite the unrelenting propaganda by Islamist groups and their supporters, those pesky Israelis refuse to give up.
Anti-Semitism, a phenomenon spanning the centuries, manifests itself in the natural realm, but its basis is spiritual. Underneath it all is the age-old battle between God and Satan.
The Bible provides ample information about the days in which we're living, what to look for and what to expect. Our job is to study, pray and believe.